Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Resident Evil 5 - screen tearing fix (Xbox 360)

Like many others, I've been looking forward to Resident Evil 5 since being introduced to Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube! I bought it last Friday (the 13th - ooh, scary!) and have been enjoying it ever since.
The graphics are, in the main, great, but there's one big thing that spoils it for me. Screen tearing. And judging by the number of results when I google for it, it's bothering quite a few other people too!

What is screen tearing?
It's what you get when your TV is trying to display two frames at the same time, overlapping each other. It manifests itself as a jagged line, which stretches across the whole screen and is most noticeable in fast-moving action.

When does it happen?
For me, it only happens in Resident Evil 5, and only when displaying in 1080p (on either 50 or 60Hz). It's most noticeable in some of the (frequent) cut scenes, but also while playing the game. It only seems to happen in the Xbox 360 version of the game.

How can I fix it?
You can't fix it per se, at least not unless Capcom release a patch, but what you can do is implement a work-around. In the Xbox Settings, under video, you can set your console to output at 1080i or 720p (assuming your TV/monitor supports this). This results in a minor decrease in graphical quality, but not a noticeable one (at least for me), and removes the tearing completely!

Further background...
Does this happen on the PS3?
No - the PS3 uses a technique called V-sync (vertical synchronisation) to stop the issue at the expense of showing fewer frames per second. Personally, I would love the option to turn this on on the Xbox - even just to try it out!

Has this problem been around for long?
Well, some people noticed it in the demo (myself included), but put it down to the fact that it was pre-release code. So it's been around for a while.

Is 1080i better or 720P?
Well, its down to preference. 720P is better for faster moving games. 1080i has fewer updates per second, but is at a higher resolution, so looks nicer for still objects.
I have read that the Xbox 360 mainly outputs in 720P anyway and scales-up to other resolutions, but haven't been able to verify that.
It could well depend on your display - my TV has 1920 x 1080 pixels, so at 1080i there's a 1-1 mapping, which means it looks great. At 720P, it would be scaling some of the pixels so it might not look so fantastic. Your display might be different.
Personally, I haven't decided yet! I'd advise to try both

What other games does this happen in?
I haven't noticed tearing on any of the other games I've played on the Xbox 360. I've heard that Dead Rising had it (another Capcom game), and maybe Ghost Recon Advanced Warfare (GRAW). I have GRAW, and haven't noticed it, but that may be because it doesn't display at 1080p, or maybe it's just more noticeable in RE5.

Why does this happen in RE5?
Well ... lazy programming/product quality. The console is being pushed past its limits in terms of how much graphical information to process, and as a result has not finished processing one frame before another comes along. However, other games have comparable graphics in 1080p without screen tearing.

Is it still worth buying Resident Evil 5?
Hell yeah. Look around for the cheapest price though. It was available for £29.99 (UK) but now the cheapest is £32.99.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I noticed this tonight and wondered what was the cause.

Anonymous said...

This would never happen in the PC version.

Scott said...

Got the game today, unfortunately it's not just at 1080p. I also have the same issue at 1366x768 on my LCD TV, and also with Dead Rising. Will try in 720p instead, hopefully that'll resolve it.


Kuhrt said...

Thanks for this! I have a 52" Samsung series 6 LCD (brand new) and running at 1080p the screen tearing was really noticeable, especially in certain outdoor scenes. Dropping it down to 1080i completely eliminates the tearing but still maintains the excellent visual quality - can't tell the difference between 1080p and 1080i!

Hermes said...

Just saying thanks and reporting my findings here.
I have an "HD-ready" Samsung TV/computer screen combo, namely T220HD, and the native resolution is 1680x1050. Below are my observations.

- "Optimal" aka native res: Excellent quality and screen ratio (proper widescreen, nothing stretched), TERRIBLE HORRIBLE screen tearing everywhere (that means in game, menus, cutscenes).

- 1080p: Stretched out, screen tearing existent everywhere, a bit annoying but not as terrible as above, OK graphic quality

- 1080i: Stretched out, no screen tearing visible except for a tiny bit in a cutscene, OK graphic quality

- 720p: Stretched out, no screen tearing anywhere (I tried really hard to look for it but found nothing), OK graphic quality.

I don't know if this is just my setup, but I can't distinguish between 1080p, 1080i and 720p, so if I want to eliminate the screen tearing I'll just use 720p. Thankfully I've finished the game quite a few times by now, cause if this was my first time around the choice would drive me crazy. Graphics on native resolution are beautiful, but that damned screen tear is insanely annoying.

Damn Capcom and their flawed beautiful games.

- 720p:

Anonymous said...

thanks for this tips

ymo1965 said...

Thanks so much for this great tip. No noticeable loss in quality and runs silky smooth now. Can't believe the xbox has no v-sync, that's one big oversight IMHO. All the best & thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tip!

I just started playing RE5 today on my xbox 360, and it had the really, really annoying screen tearing on my LCD monitor (on its native 1680x1050 resolution). Setting the resolution to 1280x720 removed the tearing completely. The image is slightly stretched and there's an odd empty space on the right side of the screen, but those annoyances are absolutely nothing compared to the previous screen tearing. Playing the game is enjoyable again.